Each year, the bar for creative, innovative, and awe-inspiring ad campaigns seems to inch a little higher. Thanks to today’s flexibility of technology, pace of innovation, and ease of integration, we regularly witness the execution of campaigns which – until their release – have seemed inconceivable. While the prospects for advertisers are more exciting than ever, the pressure and competition are exceedingly intense. New frontiers are always emerging, but one in particular consistently rewards advertiser creativity with unparalleled engagement, and that’s interactive digital signage.
DOOH – A No-Brainer
When you’re exploring the world of digital signage solutions for your company, it’s good to know the language. Digital billboards, interactive kiosks, and even mobile geo-fencing campaign fall into the category of Digital Out-of-Home, or DOOH, media. The vast majority of interactive digital signage falls into this category. As the world’s largest DOOH market based on revenues, the United States is brimming with opportunity for companies able to create immersive content for out-of-home networks.
Credit: Screen Media Daily
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The Content Challenge
Interactive digital signage has potential beyond that of other digital display solutions to draw audiences in and maximize engagement. Cashing in requires advertisers to transform engagement into immersion. The right combination of technology, data, and creativity will create an unforgettable experience for viewers. Most wildly successful immersive campaigns wind up being veritable collages of multimedia elements and action-oriented technologies. However diverse the means of getting there, the common outcome of great interactive content is the inspiration of surprise, delight, or emotion in those members of the audience who engage.
Here are six ways display solutions can be used to inspire interaction.
By Bringing Data to Life
Spotify’s ‘Thanks, 2016, it’s been weird’ campaign
Spotify seized the attention of the public with its largest-ever ad campaign by leveraging the company’s wealth of user data to point out the quirks of its listeners. To better engage local audiences, the campaign showcased hyper-local user statistics in 14 separate markets. For example, a U.K. poster reads: “Dear 3,749 people who streamed ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’ the day of the Brexit Vote. Hang in There.” A New York version reads: “Dear person in the Theater District who listened to the Hamilton soundtrack 5376 times this year. Can you get us tickets?” The user interaction in this campaign occurred before the billboards ever went up – but to the ultimate effect of stopping viewers in their tracks.
JetBlue Billboard + Mobile
JetBlue Airways has emerged as a leader in the interactive digital display space by surpassing other companies in the creativity department. A recent campaign used a digital billboard to show hashtags in real-time which spurred social-media interaction and increased consumer understanding of the brand. The rewarding of free flights motivated billboard viewers to engage with the content and act as brand advocates.
By Empowering the Public
Self-Serve NFL Merchandise at Levi’s Stadium
When Legends won its bid to distribute stadium merchandise for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium, the company went on a mission to achieve maximum fan engagement while keeping operations ultra-efficient. By deploying interactive self-service kiosks, Legends delighted customers with a fresh, fun, personalized shopping experience and the added benefit of short queues. The result was a record-breaking $4.6 million in merchandise sales.
Kings Island Interactive Maps
Interactive directory kiosks are revolutionizing the way humans get around buildings, campuses, and other expansive locations — like amusement parks. Thrill seekers at Kings Island outside of Cincinnati can now pack more into their roller-coaster-riding itineraries thanks to interactive digital maps throughout the park. In addition to the shortest route to each ride, the maps display wait times, dining options, and the visitor’s proximity to other attractions.
By Getting Physical
Toyota’s Giant Climbing Wall
Who can ignore a 10-story, three-ton climbing wall that doubles as a billboard? That’s just the medium that was used to promote Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid in Times Square. Viewers could stand by and watch pro climbers scale the wall – or harness in and try to tackle the tough terrain themselves.
Reebok’s Speed Test
As a promotion for their new ZPump 2.0 running shoe, Reebok set up an interactive billboard which combined unique hardware and software capabilities. A built-in speed camera clocked visitors as they ran past the billboard. Anyone who exceeded 17 km/h was able to unlock a brand-new pair of ZPump shoes housed in the billboard.
Nike’s UNICEF Donation Billboard
The visuals and hardware looked pretty old-school, but Nike’s idea to combine a treadmill with a billboard inspired an ultra-high level of engagement. The device included a communal odometer, and Nike inspired interaction by committing to a fixed-amount donation to UNICEF for each kilometer run. By engaging with this innovative billboard, members of the public could make a difference by putting in a run that triggered a donation.
By Incorporating Art
Hyundai Brilliant Interactive Art
Hyundai was able to advance its public perception as a forward-thinking brand by creating a “first-ever” interactive experience in Times Square. The digital billboard incorporated facial recognition and mobile technology to create live art featuring the audience members interacting with the campaign. The company’s stated goal was “to build brand awareness and reach a large audience by departing from the traditional brand marketing strategy.” Though the content had little to do with Hyundai’s primary product category, fictional artist Mr. Brilliant indeed created an unforgettable branded experience for thousands of passersby.
Talk about content marketing! The Art Everywhere US campaign joined forces with art museums throughout the country to create the largest public exhibition of iconic American art ever! By “touring” the United States via billboards, bus shelters, and other forms of display advertising, Art Everywhere gave millions of Americans an updated primer on classic art. The interaction didn’t stop with visibility, though. When viewed through the augmented reality app Blippar, the displays revealed access to educational information, audio guides, and additional AR elements.
By Augmenting Reality
Pepsi Max Bus Shelters
One perk of digital display advertising is the ability to collect viewer data. Videotaping audience reactions to the content being displayed, then posting it on the internet where it can go viral, multiplies the power of such information gathering. Such results were achieved by a Pepsi Max campaign in which Augmented Reality displays were installed in place of glass panels at London bus shelters. When AR elements started appearing through what seemed to be a real-life window to the world, hilarious reactions ensued. In addition to creating memories for bus-station inhabitants, the campaign generated videos which garnered more than 7.5 million YouTube views.
British Airways real-time flight-tracking boy
Some people were creeped out by the little boy on the billboard who stood up to point at each British Airways flight as it passed. Others were amazed. The world took notice. Thanks to a radio frequency emitted by each plane, the billboard was able to broadcast each flight’s number and destination to the wonder of pedestrians below. The campaign was one of the first to bridge the gap between real-time occurrences and perfectly couched digital content.
By Making Things Personal
Sometimes consumers need to try before they buy, but product customization can make sampling difficult. To show customers exactly what their limited-edition personalized pillows would look like, Eve Sleep created an interactive billboard. In the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, website visitors could submit loved ones’ names, plus a personalized message, then view their pillows via billboard or live-stream broadcast.
The Coughing Billboard
Do you believe that all press is good press? If so, your company might benefit from the conversation (and controversy) stirred up by a campaign like Stockholm’s coughing billboard. The ad features a model who starts coughing when embedded sensors pick up on someone smoking nearby. Though the “passive-aggressive” campaign offended some, it certainly inspired awareness in those who encountered it – and conversation amongst a far larger audience.
The potential for interactive digital signage to meet and exceed business objectives can make the medium seem like a golden goose. Companies of all sizes are likely to overspend in their efforts to make a splash by combining interactive experiences with digital display solutions. The most impressive returns on investment, however, will be enjoyed by those companies that manage to effectively integrate interactive display as one component of an overarching omni channel advertising strategy. Doing so will require testing, measurement, adjustment and, perhaps most challenging, patience.
Before you start scouting a team to carry out your grand interactive vision, make sure your intentions are in line with current high-priority business objectives. Greater specificity on the strategic end will empower you to identify the right hardware, interactive signage software, content, location, and network solutions for your campaign.